Add Some Spice to GDP with Sex and Drugs

Bill DiBenedetto | Tuesday June 10th, 2014 | 1 Comment

GDP_CunninghamFor many years a discussion about what Gross Domestic Product (GDP) should include to accurately measure the scope and health of a country’s economy has continued in more or less desultory fashion with little movement to change the indicators — until now.

Why not include sex and drugs in the GDP mix, as Italy and the United Kingdom have done? After all, those are economic activities, right?

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StEP Initiative is Turning e-Waste Into an e-Resource

| Tuesday June 10th, 2014 | 0 Comments

e-waste Transforming modern life, the advent of “digital” homes, businesses, governments and societies is yielding tremendous triple bottom line benefits in countries the world over. It has also brought a host of new social and ecological problems and challenges – from the “digital divide” and threats to the security and integrity of vital information to fast growing “mountains” of electronic waste (e-waste).

For the first time, more than 1 billion smartphones were shipped worldwide last year. Phenomenally popular, worldwide tablet shipments rose 68 percent year over year to reach 195.6 million units. Unsurprisingly, e-waste is one of the fastest growing components of our waste stream, forecast to grow by one-third from 2012 levels, to 65.4 million tons, by 2017.

Looking to mimic nature and close the loop on e-waste, the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability’s (UNU-IAS) “Solving the E-waste Problem” (StEP) Initiative has been working to raise awareness and help governments, businesses, communities and consumers build the institutional frameworks and capacity to reclaim, recycle and capture the tremendous value e-waste contains. Early this past April, StEP hosted its latest E-Waste Academy for Managers (EWAM) seminar in El Salvador, a country in a region where e-waste, both domestic and imported, poses growing triple bottom line threats.

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Climate Change Liability: Holding the Perpetrators Responsible

Michael Kourabas
| Tuesday June 10th, 2014 | 64 Comments

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Can the primary culprits of global warming be held liable for undermining efforts to combat climate change?  That may sound like something a heavier, bearded Al Gore might have scribbled on a napkin in the middle of the night, but there’s reason to believe that it may not be so far-fetched.  At least, that’s what a trio of high-profile environmental groups are suggesting.

On May 28, Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund and the Center for International Environmental Law sent letters to the executives of 35 fossil fuel companies, including ExxonMobil, Conoco and Chevron, asking the question posed above.  They also sent letters to those companies’ primary director and officer (D&O) insurers, asking them a series of questions regarding how coverage for D&Os might be affected by evidence that the insured misled regulators, investors and the public as to the safety and/or risks associated with their products.  The full list of targeted companies is here.  If you’re an energy executive, you should now be very, very scared (and equally interested in the insurance companies’ responses).  The notion even has its own hashtag on Twitter:  #climateliability.

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Investor Ready Cities: From Delhi to Chattanooga

Bill DiBenedetto | Monday June 9th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Ed note: This article is part of a short series on financing smart city infrastructure, sponsored by Siemens. Please join us for a live Google Hangout with SiemensPwC and Berwin Leighton Paisner on June 12 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET, where we’ll talk about this issue live! RSVP Here.

The Delhi Metro

The Delhi Metro was made possible through public-private partnerships from Delhi to Japan.

It’s almost a cliché these days to say that infrastructure development is a crushing and highly complex problem, mainly because there’s so much to do but not enough financial resources available to do it. The trick, then, is how to address infrastructure needs.

That’s why a new report from Siemens, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Berwin Leighton Paisner, entitled Investor Ready Cities: How cities can and deliver infrastructure value, is both timely and valuable.

The report examines in some detail how cities that have “the appropriate foundations of institutional stability can leverage financial mechanisms to their advantage to help deliver the infrastructure that is so critical to their future.” It looks at the needed steps to “create a governance, legal and regulatory environment which will support harnessing the full range of potential sources of funding.”

The 108-page report illustrates its basic themes through a series of case studies than span the globe to show how cities are addressing their infrastructure needs. Snapshots of the studies follow.

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PwC: Sustainability is Moving Into the Investment Mainstream

| Monday June 9th, 2014 | 1 Comment

PwCInvestSustainRptCvr Climate change, resource scarcity, social responsibility and good citizenship – professional investors are increasingly factoring sustainability into governance policies, portfolio decision-making processes and investment allocations, according to a new study from PwC’s Investor Resource Institute.

Indicative of the increased attention institutional investors are paying to sustainability, Stanford University Board of Trustees made headlines recently, announcing that university endowment funds will not be invested in some 100 publicly traded companies whose principal business is investing in coal. Moreover, they stated that the university will divest its current holdings in the shares of these companies.

Aiming to assess the influence of sustainability issues among large professional investment companies, a broad mix of institutional investors – asset managers, pension funds, mutual funds, hedge funds and others – responsible for managing over $7.6 trillion in assets responded to PwC Resource Institute’s survey. As the institute’s leader, Kayla Gillan, explains in a press release:

“Our research sought to gain insight from investors about how they are incorporating issues of climate change, resource scarcity, extreme weather events and evolving corporate responsibility expectations into their investment decisions and strategies. We found significant evidence that an effect is occurring today—and that it is likely to increase in coming years.”

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The Quick & Dirty: You Can’t Lead from the Middle

Henk Campher
| Monday June 9th, 2014 | 0 Comments

327939900_a752bcfdc5_zBy Henk Campher

I know, it’s been a while. Too many conferences and a book thrown in the mix too. Plug here – “Creating a Sustainable Brand.” The good news is that enough has happened since my last post to write a whole series of Quick & Dirty’s… This world of sustainability just doesn’t let up. And while many business continue to inspire me, just as many continue to make me perspire.

Two articles that stood out tackled an issue that continues to baffle me — the lack of true leadership amongst businesses. The first article tackled the lack of movement by companies on reporting on conflict minerals and the second dealt with how the lack of ethics can doom capitalism. Both of these highlights a common issue in the business world — the lack of leadership and the impact on how society views business.

We’ve seen trust in business continue to drop radically. Businesses are blamed for every ill in the world — from climate change; to corruption; to child labor; to chemicals in our food and clothes; to lack of transparency around GMOs and every other ingredient; to [fill in the blank]. Yes, it seems unfair that business gets targeted, but is it really that unfair? Do business show true leadership on these issues, or do they dance around the tough challenges?

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Will New Yorkers Jump on Board as the City’s Compost Program Expands?

Alexis Petru
| Monday June 9th, 2014 | 0 Comments

New York CityIn the fall of 2012, New York City launched a pilot program to test out the curbside collection of organic waste – food scraps, food-soiled paper and yard waste – in its dense urban neighborhoods. The project – which included 30,000 households in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island, as well as over 100 schools and city buildings throughout the city – was much more successful than officials anticipated, and now the city is rolling out the curbside organics collection program to the rest of the Big Apple in phases. This spring, an additional 70,000 households in Queens and Brooklyn received new brown carts where residents can toss in fruit and vegetable trimmings, meat and bones, napkins, and even pizza boxes.

New York City sends about 3.2 million tons of waste to landfills each year, the New York Times reported, and spends around $350 million annually to haul trash as far away as South Carolina, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. By expanding the composting collection program citywide, officials hope to make a dent in that staggering statistic, estimating that organics make up approximately 30 percent of the city’s waste stream.

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A Guide to the Different Forms of Impact-Backed Finance

3p Contributor | Monday June 9th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Floating Market 302 By Marta Maretich

Impact investors have put capital behind mission-driven finance providers since the earliest days of the social investing movement. Now the industry has grown and diversified to offer a wide range of finance provision models and approaches for investors to back.

Microcredit

Microcredit was one of the earliest forms of social impact finance and it remains one of the best known. The idea of lending as a way to improve the lot of the poor goes back to the origins of finance, but its modern version was crystallized in the ’70s when early advocates like Muhammad Yunus began to experiment with using finance provision as a tool to lift communities out of poverty.

Microcredit involves making small loans available to poor people, especially those traditionally excluded from access to bank loans, through programmes designed to meet their particular needs and circumstances. Loans are usually small and short-term. Collateral is often replaced by a system of collective guarantee groups whose members are mutually responsible for ensuring that loans are repaid. Alternatively, borrowers may find one or two personal guarantors. Often these are respected local community leaders.

It is designed to give borrowers an alternative to traditional informal forms of credit such as moneylenders, pawnshops, loans from friends and relatives. Crucially, it’s designed to keep vulnerable borrowers out of the clutches of exploitative lenders, such as loan sharks.

In important ways, microcredit is the mother of the diversified social investing sector we see today. Many of today’s leading social investors, including Ashoka and Acción, cut their financial teeth on micro-lending — using philanthropic money to establish lending programs as a way to further their social missions. Microlending sowed the seeds for what has become an explosion of social investing innovation as more and more organizations turn to finance provision as a way to extend their reach and multiply their impact.

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Rising CO2 Levels Will Lead To Dietary Deficiencies, Israeli University Warns

3p Contributor | Monday June 9th, 2014 | 4 Comments

Editor’s Note: A version of this post originally appeared on NoCamels – Israeli Innovation News

wheatBy Rachel Dinh

While many of the world’s politicians debate whether or not the effects of climate change are real, scientists in Israel are making discoveries that clearly point to their worrisome omens for the not-so-distant future.

Crops that provide a large share of the global population with most of their dietary zinc and iron will have significantly reduced concentrations of those nutrients at the elevated levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) anticipated by around 2050, according to researchers at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev in southern Israel. Given that an estimated 2 billion people suffer from zinc and iron deficiencies, resulting in a loss of 63 million life years annually from malnutrition, the reduction in these nutrients represents the most significant health threat ever to be associated with climate change.

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Entrepreneurship: A Risky Economic Pillar or an Economic Pillar at Risk?

3p Contributor | Monday June 9th, 2014 | 4 Comments

ChinaEntrepreneursBy Jesse Hertstein

Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel recently shared a story about a trip he took to Mexico. There, a woman greeted him in a very memorable way. She kept saying something in Spanish – a phrase he hadn’t heard before – and then pointed to her bright yellow dress. She repeated the action several times, almost frantically, until the interpreter made his way through the crowd.

The woman was trying to say, “This is the first new dress I’ve ever owned, and it’s because I now own my own business. Thank you.”

Her conviction. Her story. Her. All of this is not a piece of folklore. It’s a microcosm of something we hold dear at Amway: that spreading the entrepreneurial spirit and giving others a chance they may not have otherwise, makes all the difference. For this woman, and for many, one chance is all it takes.

So why don’t more people strike off on their own, or start a business through with an established direct selling model like Amway?

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Interview: Heiner Markhoff, President and CEO of GE Water

| Monday June 9th, 2014 | 0 Comments

fortune-green-2014TriplePundit reported live from the Fortune Brainstorm Green 2014 conference in Laguna Niguel, CA. Follow along on this page for ongoing video interviews with sustainability thought leaders, corporate change agents and entrepreneurs who are leading the way to a more sustainable future.

I had a chance to talk to Heiner Markoff about sustainability in the water sector and the role GE Water plans in ensuring a steady supply of fresh, clean water to the world.

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Tweet Jam: Designing for the Base of the Pyramid

| Monday June 9th, 2014 | 0 Comments

tweet-bird

Since we can’t get enough of Twitter lately, it’s time for another Tweet Jam. A Tweet Jam is a one hour conversation with a panel of experts to which everyone is invited.

This time we’ll be teaming up with Business Fights Poverty to lead the conversation about key topics facing the alleviation of poverty via design.  Some of the key questions we’ll explore are: What are some of big successes and failures in designing for the BoP? What can we learn from these experiences? What insights are there in how to go about the process of design? What are the factors behind a successful business model? How can different players work together – large companies, social entrepreneurs, government and civil society? Do designers take gender sufficiently into account when designing for the BoP? What are the next big opportunities?

From 4.30 to 5.30 UK time / 11.30 to 12.30 ET on Tuesday 10 June,  we’ll be online with Business Fights Poverty (@FightPoverty) as part of their 2014 Design Expo.

Join us with the hashtag #bfpexpo or follow along below:


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Interview: Josh Henretig on Microsoft’s Carbon Fee

| Sunday June 8th, 2014 | 1 Comment

fortune-green-2014TriplePundit reported live from the Fortune Brainstorm Green 2014 conference in Laguna Niguel, CA. Follow along on this page for ongoing video interviews with sustainability thought leaders, corporate change agents and entrepreneurs who are leading the way to a more sustainable future.

Microsoft is one of the largest carbon neutral companies in the world — a feat they accomplished in a mere two years using a clever internal accounting system and carbon fee.  I had a chance to sit down with Microsoft’s Director of Environmental Sustainability, Josh Henretig, to hear how it all works and where things are going.

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3p Weekend: Trending Topics from SB’14 San Diego

Mary Mazzoni
| Saturday June 7th, 2014 | 0 Comments
"Reimagine. Redesign. Regenerate." was the theme of this year's Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego.

“Reimagine. Redesign. Regenerate.” was the theme of this year’s Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego.

Triple Pundit spent the week at the 2014 Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego, which gathered some of the most influential companies, organizations and thought leaders in the sustainability space.

We gathered five of the top trending topics from the event for a quick weekend read. Stay tuned for more coverage all week!

1. Turning the mega challenges into prosperity

Resilience to climate change and resource constraints was a hot topic at SB’14. Talks often centered around how a company can turn its approach to these pressing mega challenges into brand value and bottom line returns.

PwC and author, speaker and environmental strategy consultant Andrew Winston led a panel on ‘building good growth’ in a brand by using cutting edge techniques to turn challenges into value. Andy Savitz, author of “Talent, Transformation and the Triple Bottom Line,” examined how sustainability programs can help companies attract and retain top talent, while others explored how things like biomimicry and the sharing economy can teach big business a lesson about turning challenge into change.

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Interview: Patagonia’s Rick Ridgeway on Sustainable Apparel

| Saturday June 7th, 2014 | 0 Comments

fortune-green-2014TriplePundit reported live from the Fortune Brainstorm Green 2014 conference in Laguna Niguel, CA. Follow along on this page for ongoing video interviews with sustainability thought leaders, corporate change agents and entrepreneurs who are leading the way to a more sustainable future.

Patagonia’s Rick Ridgeway talks to Nick Aster about the state of the apparel industry and sustainability.

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